1996 Rover - Austin Coupe 216 1.6 from UK and Ireland


It's got serious problems, but it still manages to be a great car to drive


Blown head gasket.

Driver door trim fittings worn through trim (trim barely hanging on!)

Both driver and passenger side wind deflector "springs" (dodgy bent wires) have broken through wind deflector. (Abysmal design, was bound to happen eventually).

Clips that attach hose to steering fluid well both fitted badly so were loose, replaced one tightened the other.

Some led bars have gone on the clock!

Drivers side electric window failed.

The thing creaks quite alarmingly, and not just the dashboard either!

I'm not sure the ABS is actually working.

The fuse box was all to cock compared to the manual design, took me ages to figure out!

General Comments:

Great to drive even with it's faults, the car feels quite light and nippy when the revs are kept in the power band of 3000 to 6000. However it is quite sluggish in the lower revs.

Lovely roar from the engine at 3500+.

Economical for a petrol engine (I'm averaging 42 MPG) when driven carefully, but due to the severe lack of torque this equates to about 0 to 60 in 25 seconds!

It can do 0-60 in a much faster time than this, but lacks any real oomph at all and you are left feeling a little disapointed with the overall performance. I'm comparing this to my wife's 1.7 Puma (torque all over the place faster 0-30 and faster 30-60) and my previous cars (8 valve 1.2i Nova - faster at 0-40) and (knackered 8 valve Mk2 Golf 1.8 (not GTI) far far faster 0-40, but far slower 40-60)

High insurance bracket.

Little room in the back.

Small boot letter box opening.

Odd little design things going on here and there such at the door pillars having a lip on them, seems like Rover botched up problems rather than re-designing them.

Nice style touches such as the door foot plate and walnut dash (bubble dash).

Two tone blue looks great when cleaned up and sun is shining (so that's a never and hardly ever for me)

Overall it's a good car and looks great, far better looking than many new cars, and many newer coupe designs. The Rover is a true Coupe Sports IMO as it is quite small and low. (I hate these new business size Coupes ugh).

Fast round corners, but make sure you know the top speed as it can slide easily.

Would you buy another car from this manufacturer? No

Review Date: 25th April, 2006

31st Aug 2008, 06:07

This model year of Coupe was a K-Series engine.

Honda engines are famously lacking in low down torque compared to the better power delivery of the Rover engines. Same with any Honda engine. Why do you think the VTEC needs to be revved to 10k rpm to get any power out of it? Horsepower is an equation of torque multiplied by rpm's, so if you need to rev an engine stupidly high to get any power, that is due to the fact, like all Honda engines, it has no torque whatsoever.

Just because it is a Rover engine doesn't mean it's unreliable. My mate bought himself an H-reg 414, and proudly proclaimed "It's the 1.4 litre Honda engine, cause it's got 160k miles on the clock and has never gone wrong." "Yeah mate, the 1.4 is a Rover engine" said I, to a non-believing friend, until I popped the bonnet and there was "Rover twin cam 16 valve" staring me back.

5th Sep 2008, 05:18

Hi there.

I drove one, a '96 1.6 coupe, and I am almost buying it...

I did like the driving sensation, but now as I see that both Rover and Honda did supply the 1.6 engine for that car, I have a doubt: how do I see the difference?

5th Sep 2008, 16:13

Hi there.

I can guarantee you that a Coupe from this model year ONLY has a Rover engine, Honda only supplied their engines before the BMW takeover.

However, if you want to check, your engine will have "Rover" on the spark-plug cover, and "Twin-cam 16 valve" on the part of the block nearest the radiator.

1996 Rover - Austin Coupe coupe 1.6 petrol injection from UK and Ireland


Head turner, but beware of its mechanics


Engine blew without warning at 78,000. Gearbox went a month later along with the clutch.

Braking is fine if you've never driven anything else - The brakes don't do much if you touch them and tend to lock if you put your foot down.

Motorway handling is great - 120mph no problems (no admitance here of law breaking - I've been told it does that well)... But, on normal roads with a bit of rain, this car will catch you out - it slides. Once the front end looses grip it will not recover. The difference being, if your traveling at speed the front end gets pushed down by the aerodynmics. If your going slow the front end is way too light and refuses to perform.

General Comments:

I love the car - can't explain it, because it has cost me a bomb.

To give it some good feedback - it's quick, and the interior is awesome - as a second hand car, you get all the refinement of a car far more expensive - there's electrics all the way through and they are reliable. The car looks awesome even at 10 years old, and it hasn't suffered rust problems.

The car does attract attention - especially with some new alloys and a bit of a polish.

Would you buy another car from this manufacturer? Don't Know

Review Date: 28th February, 2006